I met a client a while back who told me “I’m just getting back into working with Forrester again. Years ago, like 15 years ago, I used to have these great, animated conversations with an analyst there. John McCarthy. Do you know him?” This man remembered 15-year-old conversations. And having been in my share of meetings with John over the years I know why. He is one of my best friends, a great mentor and amazing analyst. His mind works so quickly, and he is knowledgeable about so many topics it’s almost impossible to keep up with him intellectually.
Why am I blogging about this story? Because this year John McCarthy celebrated his 25th anniversary with Forrester. He is in fact the first employee that George Colony hired. In an environment where people like to talk about rock star analysts, John McCarthy is John, Paul, George, and Ringo rolled into one (with good measures of Elvis and Johnny Cash too). He’s been on TV many times and has been the key spokesperson in his share of press conferences (notice the above photo of the Indian media interviewing him during a recent trip to that country), been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal with one of those rare sketched photos, and quoted on the West Wing. I’m not kidding – years ago John wrote a major piece of research titled “3.3 Million Jobs Go Offshore,” and a few months later it was referenced in the TV show. That’s influence.
John’s been an important part of the research and insight we’ve provided to Sourcing & Vendor Management clients over the years so I wanted to celebrate his anniversary with all of you in the community. There are a few ways we’re doing this and we encourage you to contribute too.
Rumors became official on Tuesday: Siemens succeeded in finding a viable partner to buy its IT Solutions and Services (SIS) business. For all of us following the market in the past it wasn’t a surprise that ATOS ORIGIN is paying €850 million to take over Siemens’ IT business. This sum is a mixture of shares, bonds and cash, which will make Siemens a prime shareholder of ATOS for at least for a five-year period. In return ATOS will provide Siemens with Managed Services and System Integration worth €5.5 billion over a period of 7 years.
Question: What does this mean?
In the short run, even though this transaction will make ATOS the biggest European-headquartered IT service provider (with an expected combined revenue of approximately €8.7 billion in 2010 growing to an expected €10 billion in 2013) the direct impact for the IT user market will be minor. The mentioned outsourcing contract effectively represents one of the largest deals globally, but the impact on clients will be minimal as SIS delivers a significant amount of services to Siemens today. Second, ATOS ORIGIN is currently running a major restructuring program called TOP. And those projects combined with an acquisition of the mentioned size will be a challenge — at least. Thus meaning that ATOS ORIGIN’s focus will either be to finish the TOP program and then integrate SIS or extend TOP to include SIS. Either way the new organization will need some time to form — and so will the market impact.
Early next year I'm going to ask Sourcing & Vendor Management professionals to vote on which software companies' licensing policies they most resent as Unfair. Fairness is a subjective quality, but it seems to me that some policies penalize customers for circumstances beyond their control that are unrelated to the value they are getting from the software. Others have serious consequences that may not have been apparent to the buyer when he agreed to the contract. Fair software pricing charges some companies more than others, but in a logical, transparent way that is related to value. Jim Hagemann Snabe (SAP's co-CEO) explained software pricing best practice extremely well in this recent interview with Computerweekly.com's Warwick Ashford:
"Q: What is SAP doing to meet user demand for greater clarity on licensing and pricing?"